TCM has a lot going on in April with a 100th birthday tribute to one of the greatest actors of all time, a 24-hour marathon each Wednesday for the director of Casablanca, a tribute to a film noir icon, and a celebration of one of MGM’s most famous musical stars.
Here we go!
STAR OF THE MONTH: WILLIAM HOLDEN (MONDAYS IN APRIL)
TCM celebrates the 3-time Oscar nominated with a 100th birthday tribute and 34 films starting with his credited debut in 1939’s Golden Boy (April 2 @ 8pm/7pm) to his final film in 1981’s S.O.B. (May 1 @ 2:15am/1:15am). Two of the 34 films will be TCM premieres 1947’s Dear Ruth (April 3 @ 1:45am/12:45am) and 1980’s The Earthling (May 1 @ 4:30am/3:30am). Actress Stefanie Powers will join Ben Mankiewicz every Monday evening introducing several of Holden’s most famous films.
William Beedle, Jr. was born on April 17, 1918. In 1938, the renamed William Holden was signed to a six-month contract with Paramount Pictures. After two uncredited roles, Holden was thrust into the spotlight when he won the coveted role of “Joe Bonaparte” in the 1939 film adaptation of the play Golden Boy. Columbia Pictures, who produced the movie, also bought half of the actor’s contract.
“Smilin’ Jim” roles
For the next decade, Holden alternated between Columbia and Paramount with an occasional loan-out. Due to his All-American image, Bill starred in a series of roles which he dubbed his “Smilin’ Jim” which was a character who gets himself into a tight spot and smiles his way of out of it. Holden was not a fan of these roles. The audience can see some of his “Jim” parts in Dear Ruth, and 1942’s The Fleet’s In (April 3 @ 3:30am/2:30am). WWII interrupted his career from 1942 until 1947 when he finally returned to films. Holden continued to alternate between his two studios.
The Breakthrough and International Superstar
Finally, in 1950, William Holden was cast in the film that would change everything Sunset Boulevard (April 9 @ 8pm/7pm). Holden memorably played “Joe Gillis” a down-on-his-luck screenwriter who winds up being the kept man of an aging Hollywood actress named “Norma Desmond” played by silent film star Gloria Swanson. He would follow this with the hit comedy Born Yesterday (April 30 @ 8pm/7pm). Then in 1953, Holden re-teamed with SB’s writer/director Billy Wilder for the war dramedy Stalag 17 (April 9 @ 10pm/9pm). Playing the cynic POW “J.J. Stefon” William Holden would win his only Academy Award for Best Actor. Soon, Holden would be one of the top box-office stars, reaching the number spot in 1956.
By the 1960’s, Holden’s career took a sharp downturn due to his alcoholism. He did experience several highs with 1969’s The Wild Bunch (Monday April 23 @ 12:30am/11:30pm) and 1976’s Network (April 30 @ midnight/11pm) which gave Holden one last Best Actor nomination. William Holden died on November 12, 1981 at the age of 63.
TCM SPOTLIGHT: DIRECTED BY MICHAEL CURTIZ (WEDNESDAYS IN APRIL)
Michael Curtiz had one of the most amazing careers in film history. He made a whopping 178 movies over six decades starting in 1912 and ending in 1961. He directed 11 performers to Academy Award nominations. He won only one Oscar himself, a Best Short Subject called Sons of Liberty in 1939.
Oh, and he directed Casablanca (April 18 @ 8pm/7pm). So every Wednesday, there will be a full 24 hours of Curtiz’s work, starting in the 1930s and ending in the 1960s.
TCM SPOTLIGHT: THE VICTORIAN ERA IN FILM (THURSDAYS IN APRIL)
TCM celebrates the Victorian Era with its pomp and circumstance and underlying struggles of poverty, sickness, and the subjugation of women (some things never change). The films are divided into four categories: Victorian Crime (April 5), Victorian Science and Exploration (April 12), Victorian Romance (April 19), and Victorian Society and Manners (April 26).
STARRING MICHAEL DOUGLAS (APRIL 3)
Michael Douglas sat down with Ben Mankiewicz at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival and discussed his career as an actor and producer. Then TCM will show two of his most famous films (which he also produced), 1979’s The China Syndrome (9:15pm/8:15pm) and the TCM premiere of 1984’s Romancing the Stone (12:45am/11:45pm).
STARRING JANE POWELL (APRIL 10)
In a Facebook post for what’s coming up, TCM mentioned that Jane Powell would be a guest programmer. I don’t know if this is true or not. What is true is that TCM will be showing five of Powell’s most memorable films-1950’s Two Weeks with Love (8pm/7pm) co-starring Debbie Reynolds, 1948’s A Date with Judy (10pm/9pm) co-starring Elizabeth Taylor, 1955’s Hit the Deck (midnight/11pm) again with Debbie Reynolds, 1950’s Nancy Goes to Rio (2am/1am), and 1958’s The Girl Most Likely (4am/3am). Fingers crossed that Jane is there to introduce her films!
TRIBUTE TO PEGGY CUMMINGS (APRIL 17)
TCM pays tribute to the film noir icon (even though she was only in one noir movie!) with five films. They include the noir Gun Crazy (8pm/7pm) where Cummings gave a memorable performance as the femme fatale Annie Laurie Starr. Also included in the tribute 1947’s The Late George Apley (1:30am/12:30am), 1953’s Always a Bride (3:30am/2:30am), 1957’s Hell Drivers (11:30pm/10:30pm), and 1958’s Curse of the Demon (9:45pm/8:45pm).
Peggy Cummings died on December 29, 2017. She was 92 years old.
I.A.L. DIAMOND SCREENPLAYS (APRIL 24)
The I.A.L. apparently stands for “Interscholastic Algebra League” because Diamond won a mathematics prize in high school. He started collaborating with Billy Wilder in 1957. The duo won the Best Screenplay Oscar in 1960 for The Apartment (8/pm/7pm). Other Diamond films in the tribute include his first collaboration with Wilder, 1957’s Love in the Afternoon (3:45am/2:45am) plus non-Wilder films 1946’s Two Guys from Milwaukee (2am/1am), 1969’s Cactus Flower (10:15pm/9:15pm) and 1951’s Love Nest (12:15am/11:15pm)
DON’T FORGET BRAD DEXTER (APRIL 27)
The supporting actor gets his due with three films beginning as one of The Magnificent Seven (8pm/7pm), followed by 1952’s The Las Vegas Story (10:30pm/9:30pm), and 1965’s None But the Brave (12:15am/11:15pm), which is notable for being the only film directed by Frank Sinatra.